The island of Ireland's Eye, part of the Howth Estate, lies about a kilometre north of Howth harbour, with Lambay Island some 5 km further to the north. A Martello tower exists on each of these islands with another tower overlooking Howth harbour (opened as a visitor centre and Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio on June 8th 2001) and another tower at Red Rock, Sutton.
County: Dublin North
Scene: Boats in Howth Harbour
Date: circa 1910
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Read about Howth below
Howth (pronounced to rhyme with both; known as Binn Éadair in Irish) is a generally affluent residential area in the County of Fingal (part of the former County Dublin), Ireland. Originally just a small fishing village, Howth is now a busy suburb of Dublin. It is one of the northern termini of the DART suburban rail system. The village of Howth spans most of the northern part of Howth Head, a Peninsula which is connected to the rest of Fingal via a narrow strip of land (or tombolo) at nearby Sutton. In the past, Howth could become isolated from the mainland during stormy weather and high tides.
The island of Ireland's Eye, part of the Howth Estate, lies about a kilometre north of Howth harbour, with Lambay Island some 5 km further to the north. A Martello tower exists on each of these islands with another tower overlooking Howth harbour (opened as a visitor centre and Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio on June 8th 2001) and another tower at Red Rock, Sutton. These are part of a series of towers built around the coast of Ireland during the 19th century. At the south-east corner of Howth Head is the automated Baily Lighthouse. Howth is a popular area for birdwatching and sailing, and is also a mecca for anglers. Anything from cod to ray can be caught from Howth's rocky shore marks.
In ancient legend, Howth was home to a chieftain called Croimhthain whose fort (Irish: Dún Croimhthain) gives the name Dungriffan to a local road.
A more recent legend concerns the pirate Grace O'Malley, who was rebuffed in 1576 while attempting a courtesy visit to Howth Castle, home of the Earl of Howth. In retailation, she abducted the Earl's grandson and heir, and as ransom she exacted a promise that unanticipated guests would never be turned away again.
In the early 18th century, Howth was chosen as the location for the harbour for the mail packet(postal service). One of the arguments used against Howth by the advocates of Dún Laoghaire was that coaches might be raided in the badlands of Sutton! (At the time Sutton was open countryside.) Unfortunately, due to silting, the harbour needed to be frequently dredged to accommodate the packet and eventually the service was relocated to Dún Laoghaire.
In 1914, thousands of rifles were landed at Howth by Robert Erskine Childers for the Irish Volunteers. Many were used against the British in the Easter Rising and the subsequent Anglo-Irish War.
Among Howth's better known residents are surfer Fred Jones, writer Penny Gray, Senator Fergal Quinn, Booker Prize winning novelist John Banville, U2 drummer Larry Mullen, and musician Barney McKenna of The Dubliners. Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy lived in Howth for a time; he is buried in St Fintan's Cemetery on the Sutton side of Howth Head, which is also the burial place of Charles Haughey, thrice Taoiseach of Ireland. Actor Stuart Townsend was born in Howth. Multiple Eurovision Song Contest winner Johnny Logan and his famous tenor father Patrick O'Hagan lived for many years in Howth, and Lynn Redgrave and husband John Clark raised their family there in the early 1970s.